Last weekend Roger, Helen and Annie were privileged to be able to travel to Yardley in Birmingham to assist in a local production of Two Sisters and a Funeral by the Inn Crowd Singers - a group of singers drawn from a number of churches in the Yardley and Stechford areas of Birmingham. This small community choir was originally started by Roger's PA Anne Maddox and Helen Jones, but has since taken on a life of its own under choir director Debbie Dipple (who is also part of the CMM choir). The choir have also performed Rock, Simeon and While Shepherds Watched as well as the Inn Crowd over the last 5 years.
This production included drama and a mime/dance as well as amazing costumes and scenery - the group had really gone to town and was meticulous in its preparation. Annie and Helen joined their resident flautist Mary Wright (one of the lyricists for Roger's musical Away in a manger) to add in some instrumental accompaniment.
The choir were great and the soloists were brilliant. Pete Hazelwood, who played Lazarus in the first performance, had extended the narrations from the musical, and added a couple of scenes. The extra drama came across really well, and the audiences seemed to really enjoy it. There was also a mime from the local drama group for the crucifixion scene, which was very powerful.
The choirs performed to two packed houses at Digbeth in the Fields URC - one on the Saturday evening, and another on Sunday afternoon. The CMM team were looked after amazingly well, including a plate of fish and chips on Saturday lunchtime! On the Sunday morning Roger, Annie and Helen took the morning service at the church - Annie led worship, Roger preached about sitting at Jesus' feet, and Helen took the rest of the service. From the team's perspective the service didn't feel to have gone as well as it might, but there were such good comments afterwards that God was clearly moving and blessing people.
It was wonderful to be part of this amazing ministry. The choir had managed to drum up a large audience, many of whom were not Christians - what a wonderful witness! The musicals being used as they were intended - to share the Gospel and bring Christians together in worship and witness.
Thanks to Robert Jones who took some wonderful photos.